“Hard choices, easy life; easy choices, hard life” PM edition
“Hard choices, easy life; easy choices, hard life” PM edition 👇
1. Speaking with customers
❌Easy choice: Assuming what customers want from the comfort of your four walls.
❌ Hard life: A product that keeps missing obvious details.
✅ Hard choice: Booking time to do it. Going to customers. Preparing scripts. Analyzing results.
✅ Easy life: Insights that shape your product into something they might actually want, because they said so.
2. Handling bad news or unexpected results
❌ Easy choice: ignoring it. “Maybe it will disappear”.
❌ Hard life: surprised management, now having to deal with it. Trust is gone.
✅ Hard choice: telling management as it is. Showing the facts independently of the consequences. Preparing solutions even if it sucks.
✅ Easy life: management trusting you can solve it.
3. Understanding enough of the technical aspects of the product
❌ Easy choice: “engineers know this, I don’t have to”. Say yes to whatever the team says without understanding the trade-offs.
❌ Hard life: long build cycles. Surprised when management asks why. Lose trust from the team when you need to pressure because time is running out.
✅ Hard choice: Understanding something you don’t feel like you’ll use. Spending time with the team instead of doing other more obvious things.
✅ Easy life: you’ll be a better decision proxy. You’ll defend engineering teams. You’ll empathize with the time it takes to build tech and team will trust you more.
You can run this exercise with most of the tasks and situations going through a PM day-to-day. Rarely an easy choice will get you to a better life. The grind will get you the best product.